Best Law Firm 401(k) Plans: BrightScope

With higher average 401(k) account balances than average companies, law firm participants have ‘more to lose when a plan is not efficiently managed’

BrightScope has released a list of the highest ranked law-firm 401(k) plans with assets of more than $100 million. The ranking is based on the proprietary BrightScope Rating, which analyzes “more than 200 individual data points,” according to an announcement Tuesday. Plan sponsors uses BrightScope Ratings and data to optimize retirement plans and “choose the providers that provide the most value for the fees they charge,” according to the firm’s web site. 

Plan participants can look at BrightScope’s web site at no cost to see how their plan compares with others, see the top plans in a peer group and get a Personal 401(k) Fee Report. The data shows how their plan compares with peers and indicates, with red flags, where plans cost investors more in “lost retirement savings,” and “additional years of work,” required if a plan is less efficiently managed. Advisors, plan sponsors and plans can subscribe to get more details and information about how to optimize plans.

“The average 401(k) participant in the legal industry has an account balance that is significantly higher than the median, which means that they have more to lose when a plan is not efficiently managed,” said Mike Alfred (left), CEO and co‐founder of BrightScope. “BrightScope makes it simple to identify weaknesses within plans so participants and sponsors can initiate small adjustments to plan structure that have positive long-term effects on the plan’s value.”

The Top Ranked Law Firm 401(k) Plans:

  1. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP – Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (A Partnership) Tax Opportunity Plan for Savings (Plan A - Safe Harbor) – 93
  2. Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP – Retirement Plan of Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP – 90
  3. Stoock & Stroock & Lavan LLP – Stoock & Stroock & Lavan LLP Retirement Plan and Trust for Partners – 89
  4. Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP – Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP Profit Sharing Retirement Plan – 88
  5. Stoel Rives LLP – Stoel Rives Retirement Plan – 88
  6. Fish & Richardson, PC – Fish & Richardson Profit Sharing 401k Plan – 88
  7. Barnes & Thornburg LLP – Barnes & Thornburg LLP Profit Sharing Plan and Trust – 87
  8. Briggs and Morgan, Professional Association – Briggs and Morgan, Professional Association Profit Sharing Plan – 87
  9. Saul Ewing LLP – The Saul Ewing Retirement Plan – 87
  10. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP – Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP Retirement Plan – 87
  11. Covington & Burling LLP – Covington & Burling Retirement Savings Plan – 87
  12. Reed Smith LLP – Reed Smith LLP Deferred Profit Sharing Plan – 87
  13. Arnold & Porter LLP – Arnold & Porter LLP Profit-Sharing and 401k Plan and Trust – 87
  14. Jenner & Block – Jenner & Block Profit Sharing Plan - #201 – 87
  15. Irell & Manella LLP – Irell & Manella Profit Sharing Plan – 87
  16. Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, L.L.P. – Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, L.L.P. Profit Sharing Plan – 87
  17. Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP – Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP Retirement Plan – 86
  18. Locke, Lord, Bissell & Liddell LLP – Locke, Lord, Bissell & Liddell Retirement Savings Plan – 86
  19. Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP – Davis Wright Tremaine LLP 401(k) Profit Sharing Plan and Trust – 86
  20. Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP – Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP Retirement Savings Plan No. 1 – 86
  21. 21. Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, P.L.C. – Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, P.L.C. Capital Accumulation Plan – 86
  22. Blank Rome LLP – Blank Rome LLP Profit Sharing Plan – 86
  23. Morrison & Foerster LLP – Morrison & Foerster LLP Retirement Plan – 86
  24. Venable LLP – Venable LLP Retirement Plan – 86
  25. King & Spalding LLP – King & Spalding LLP Profit Sharing - 401k Plan – 86

Launched in January 2009, BrightScope provides plan sponsors, advisors and plan providers with benchmarking software, tools and analytics on a subscription basis. The company’s website says it “is aligned with plan sponsors and seeks to avoid conflicts that will jeopardize its ability to give its clients unbiased advice.” It also says it “does not accept compensation in the form of revenue sharing from mutual fund companies or plan providers.” 

BrightScope gathers plan data from plan sponsors, record keepers, the Securities and Exchange Commission, Department of Labor and other sources. Plans are rated, among other data points, on “total cost, company generosity and investment menu quality.” So far, “BrightScope has rated more than 55,000 401k plans,” covering more than 30 million workers with assets of over $2 trillion according to the release.

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